New Articles

A New Channel for U.S.-Iran Communication

April 21, 2011
Ellen Laipson        The State Department's recent naming of a Persian-speaking press spokesman, Alan Eyre, opens a potentially important channel in the long-stagnant U.S.-Iran relationship. The absence of contact or inability to communicate at official levels means that American diplomats are…

Department of State’s Human Rights Report on Iran

April 12, 2011
The following is from the executive summary of the State Department issued its Human Rights Report for 2010:        The government severely limited citizens' right to peacefully change their government through free and fair elections, and it continued a campaign of postelection violence and…

War of Words over Bahrain Rattles Region

April 11, 2011
Afshin Molavi       A war of words has erupted between Iran and its Persian Gulf neighbors over the fate of Bahrain, catapulting unrest in the tiny island nation into a regional crisis with both political and sectarian overtones.         In a reflection of the tensions, a Gulf Arab foreign…

New Claims on Iran Nuclear Program Questionable

April 8, 2011
David Albright and Andrea Stricker        The National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), a longstanding opposition group, claimed on April 7 that the Iranian regime has a secret facility producing centrifuge components for uranium enrichment, a process that can be used for both peaceful…

Iran Backs Libyan Rebels, Chastises West Over Oil, Bahrain

April 5, 2011
Semira N. Nikou       Libya’s rebellion has put Iran in an awkward position. Tehran has tried to balance support for the Libyan opposition, which it views as part of a region-wide “Islamic awakening,” with rejection of the NATO-led military strikes.        Iranian officials charged that the U.…

Esfandiar Mashaei: Iran’s Next President?

March 30, 2011
Kourosh RahimkhaniAlthough never elected to office, Esfandiar Rahim Mashaei is a major political figure, with speculating mounting that he may be a presidential candidate in 2013. Who is Mashaei, besides chief of staff for President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad? Mashaei was issued a visa to participate in…

Growing World Pressure Over Iran’s Human Rights Record

March 28, 2011
Robin Wright            The U.N. decision to appoint an investigator to track Iran’s human rights violations is the latest move by the international community to increase pressure on Tehran. The resolution follows a report by U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon in which he said he was “deeply…

Iran Warns Gulf on Bahrain

March 24, 2011
Semira N. Nikou       After weeks of relative silence, Iran has become increasingly outspoken about Bahrain’s political crisis since Saudi Arabia deployed troops to back up the beleaguered monarchy on March 14.        Iran has long had political, strategic and religious interests in Bahrain,…

The Limits of Iran’s Soft Power

March 22, 2011
Michael Eisenstadt        Political change sweeping the Middle East has heightened concerns about a shifting balance of power in Iran’s favor. But Tehran’s experience in Iraq provides critical insights into the limits of the Islamic Republic’s regional influence, and its propensity to be its…

Russia Balks at New Pressure on Iran

March 16, 2011
Mark N. Katz        After a year of cooperation on Iran, Russia now opposes new sanctions or other tough measures to pressure Tehran on its controversial nuclear program. The failure of recent diplomacy to get Iran to comply with U.N. resolutions, and reassure the world that it is not secretly…

Rafsanjani Dislodged From a Top Job

March 9, 2011
Farideh Farhi Iran’s Assembly of Experts voted March 8 to replace former President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani from the chairmanship. What happened and why is the outcome significant?On March 8, the Assembly of Experts, effectively pushed former President Rafsanjani from the leadership of a top…

Rising Oil Prices Create Political Cushion for Iran

March 7, 2011
Fareed Mohamedi  Oil prices have risen worldwide because of political unrest and upheavals in the Middle East. How has Iran been affected by the turmoil in oil sales?The sudden rise in oil prices amid uncertainty and upheavals in the Middle East could create a political cushion for…

Where are Iran's Opposition Leaders? Officials Speak Out

March 3, 2011
Semira N. Nikou      Iran has tightened the squeeze on Green Movement leaders Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi amid opposition attempts to mobilize new protests. The regime has dodged persistent questions about whether the two leaders—both prominent figures in the 1979 revolution—and their…

Iran’s Economy in the Shadow of Regional Upheaval

February 28, 2011
Suzanne Maloney        Iran’s stability is once again in question, as historic protests sweep the Middle East and revive the flagging fortunes of its own opposition movement. Expectations of the Islamic Republic’s inevitable demise are further fueled by the revolutionary state’s own…

U.N. reports new information on Iran’s nuclear program

February 25, 2011
Michael Adler          The United Nations has obtained new information that Iran may have worked on making nuclear weapons, according to a report distributed in Vienna February 25. Its nuclear watchdog agency also said Iran appears to have overcome setbacks from the Stuxnet cyber-virus that set…

Iran on Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood

February 25, 2011
Mehdi Khalaji For decades, the Muslim Brotherhood was the largest organized opposition party in Egypt. It is Islamist. What are its similarities and differences with Iran’s Islamic revolution?The current revolt in Iran is against Islamism, but the recent uprising in Egypt is neither Islamist…

New U.S. Sanctions on Iran for human rights abuses

February 24, 2011
Robin Wright       The United States imposed new sanctions on two top Iranian officials for engaging in “serious human rights abuses” since the disputed 2009 election. In a striking run of statements on February 23, the White House, State Department and Treasury Department issued three separate…

The Mujahedeen-e Khalq Controversy

February 22, 2011
Omid Memarian What is the Mujahedeen-e Khalq organization?The Mujahedeen-e Khalq (MEK), or the People’s Mujahedeen Organization, was founded in 1965 as an urban guerilla group opposed to the monarchy of Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi. It participated in the 1979 Revolution but later broke with…

Iran’s labor flashpoint

February 17, 2011
Kevan Harris       Iran’s labor movement and working class have been pivotal political actors for more than a century, with one of the longest records in the Middle East.  Iran has witnessed hundreds of strikes in major industries over the past two decades.  And thousands of workers participated…

U.S. Gets Tougher on Iran

February 15, 2011
Robin Wright        The Obama administration has become increasingly outspoken about Iran since the Egyptian and Tunisian uprisings. The main focus has notably shifted from Iran’s controversial nuclear program to issues of democracy and human rights abuses.          For the first time, the…

Iranian quotes on Egypt's revolution

February 14, 2011
Semira N. Nikou        Iranian leaders have welcomed the ouster of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak. Since the 1979 Iranian Revolution, Tehran and Cairo have had tense and difficult relations. The two predominantly Muslim countries had rival forms of rule: Egypt is secular and Iran is an Islamic…

A revolution’s anniversary: Iran’s creeping military rule

February 9, 2011
Shaul Bakhash Iran’s revolution marks its anniversary on Feb. 11. What is the political situation in Iran today?Iran marks the revolution’s 32nd anniversary in dramatically altered circumstances. It emerged from the disputed 2009 presidential election as a far more militarized state. The…

For Iran, both hope and danger in Egypt

February 7, 2011
Daniel Brumberg       Strategically, Iran is hedging its position on the new Middle East turmoil.        The theocrats like to publicly portray the democratic revolts in Tunisia and Egypt as an Islamist tsunami sweeping away corrupt autocracies to replace them with Islamic regimes. But…

Iranians split on Egypt’s turmoil

February 3, 2011
Semira N. Nikou        Iranian leaders, from both the regime and the opposition, are increasingly speaking out about the turmoil in Egypt, Tunisia, and elsewhere. The two sides view the protests from starkly different perspectives, however. The theocracy likes to take credit for inspiring the…

Iran’s New Foreign Minister: Ali Akbar Salehi

January 31, 2011
Mehrzad Boroujerdi      The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) is better noted for its dense, jargon-filled technical reports than for grooming future political personalities. Yet former IAEA officials have recently catapulted into the political spotlight of two pivotal countries in the…

Iran and Hezbollah: The balance of power shifts in Lebanon

January 27, 2011
Emile Hokayem How does the selection of new Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Mikati--a Sunni Muslim hand-picked by Hezbollah, a Shiite movement--alter Iran’s influence or reach in Lebanese politics in practical terms?The swift change in government reflects the ascendancy of Hezbollah in Lebanese…

Why Tunisia and not Iran

January 25, 2011
Steven Heydemann       In Tunisia, a small, homogeneous state on the southern Mediterranean, a popular uprising forced the overthrow of a long-ruling dictator in early 2011.  Ruthless repression of mass protests failed.  In just one month, Tunisians ousted an entrenched authoritarian regime…

Why the Istanbul talks failed

January 23, 2011
Michael Adler in Istanbul Why did talks between Iran and the world’s six major powers in Istanbul January 21-22 fail to produce any agreement or significant movement toward a compromise?The talks deadlocked after Iran imposed two preconditions on any deal designed to assuage fears that the…

Could Iran deliver a bomb? Four basics about Iran’s ballistic missiles

January 21, 2011
Michael Elleman      International concern—and diplomacy—over Iran’s nuclear program have focused largely on Tehran's growing abilities to enrich uranium, a process essential for both peaceful nuclear energy and to make a bomb. But a second key issue is the Islamic Republic's ability to actually…

Iran’s domestic woes dictate outcome of nuclear talks

January 20, 2011
Geneive Abdo       Iran’s leaders face a host of problems at home and abroad that deeply impact international diplomatic efforts. The outcome of current talks between Tehran and the world’s six major powers—as well as any future initiatives—is likely to be heavily influenced by the regime’s…